Big Game for Taylor, Smith

Oxford, Miss.--Auburn's receivers had perhaps their best outing of the season as Ole Miss loaded the box to stop the run. Quarterback Brandon Cox completed 21 passes on the day with 16 of those to the wideouts led by senior Courtney Taylor, who had eight receptions for 108 yards.

Taylor moved into second on the all-time in receptions list with 142, passing Terry Beasley with 141.

"He's one of the all-time greats at Auburn," Taylor says. "Coach Tuberville told me that (I passed him). I just said, ‘Wow!' Just to be mentioned in the same sentence as Mr. Beasley is an honor for me. That's something that I never would have thought when I first stepped foot on campus at Auburn. I'm honored."

The Auburn senior from Carrolton, Ala., is just eight behind Karsten Bailey (1995-1998), who had 150 catches in his career.

Though Taylor made most of the plays offensively for the Tigers, he gives most of the credit to the five hogmollies up front who protected Cox, who has not been sacked in the last 10 quarters.

"I've got my big offensive line to thank because it seems like Brandon had all day back there today," Taylor says. "I ran probably three or four long routes and they give him plenty of time to throw the ball. That goes to the offensive line."

Just as Taylor finished his praise for the offensive line, a deep voice from behind the reporters asked Taylor the next question.

"So are you going to take the offensive line out to eat?"

It was offensive guard Tim Duckworth, a Mississippi native who won his final three games against the Rebels.

"I don't know about taking them out to eat because I really don't have much money," Taylor says. "I've got rent due, power bill due, but I can make ya'll some peanut butter sandwiches."

Taylor was giddy about his 100-yard performance, which was just three yards short of his career high 111 yards in the 2004 SEC Championship Game, but says he was disappointed that he didn't get into the end zone with all of those yards.

Fellow starter Rodgeriqus Smith, who had four receptions for 46 yards, says he's just fine with the production between he and Taylor.

"He had 100 yards receiving," Smith explains, "but I got the touchdown. I don't have a problem with it. He got in the end zone last week, I got in this week."


Taylor, like always, fighting for extra yards.

Taylor leads the team in receiving after nine games with 43-508, but has just one score. Smith, who caught a 13-yard strike from Cox on an play action out route, has one third of Cox's nine scoring tosses this season.

"It was a 143 X Corner," Smith says. "I was supposed to be hot off the two blitzers and they didn't blitz, so I ran my route. I stuck pretty good to the inside, got free (on the outside) and caught the touchdown pass.

"I just go in with a chip on my shoulder and play hard every week," the walk-on continues. "I definitely think I have proved myself on the D-I level against the top SEC schools."

As well as the 12 receptions by Taylor and Smith, seven other players caught a pass from Cox--receivers Robert Dunn (2-16),Lee Guess (1-25) and Prechae Rodriguez (1-8), tight ends Tommy Trott (2-21) and Gabe McKenzie (1-9) and running backs Carl Stewart (1-23) and Tre Smith (1-minus 3).

"The game plan for this week was to run it a little more, but we ended up passing a lot more this game," Smith says. "They were going to stop the run first, so that threw the game plan out a little bit and we started passing a little more. We can't run the ball all of the time. We've got to open it up and pass it a little more and that's what happened today."


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